Mille Bayous is the latest offering from the collaborative team of Horvey, Goldschneider and Morton. Their work references free jazz traditions and mistakes, contemporary/experimental composition, and other modes of improvised and found music to create an actuelle-folk-electroacoustic sound. It is cute, patient, noisy, brash, cheeky, epic, and proficient. Mille Bayous is their first release, although some of their work has also appeared on two solo albums by Amy Horvey, as well as in numerous live performances in Montreal, Stratford, across Saskatchewan, and other locations in Canada.
April 30, 2011 Subject:
reviews from Acts Of Silence, Recent Music Heroes and Disquiet
One of the things that immediately intrigued me about the live experimental work, Mille Bayous, by Isak Goldschneider, Amy Horvey and Jeff Morton was that it is broken up into several distinct tracks, instead of the one long track as usually done with work of this kind. Performed live at Moose Mountain Pottery in Saskatchewan (Canada), Mille Bayous is an improvised work that the liner notes say “references free jazz traditions and mistakes, contemporary/experimental composition, and other modes of improvised and found music to create an actuelle-folk-electroacoustic sound.”
The first two tracks, “Introduction: Creole Rhizome” and “Scary Forest”, greet the listener with their drones, twisted horns and other effects in a somewhat comforting way. It would be folly to call out any of these musicians for any particular work on Mille Bayous as they all move from instrument to instrument, though I am greatly interested in what is referred to in the liner notes as a magnet-motor guitar. The album moves along peacefully until “Bop Hunters” which stretches ones imagination of what music is with its radial saw-like pronouncements.
After several listens to Mille Bayous, one comes away with three artists working in a very jazz-like structure as they walk along their own path, yet working toward one complete thing. Last year, I reviewed Jeff Morton’s work with Kirk McNally, And the Daily Life (Panospria), which was one of my favorite experimental albums of last year. It wouldn’t surprise me that this Morton collaboration will be one of my favorites at the end of this year.
On the first album of this classically trained Canadian trio can be detected for different aspects through electro-acoustic music, improvised jams and hardly definable sonic experiments. In fact, every path in the realm of electro-acoustic activity are so heavily explored thereby it should not be surprising at all if someone has managed to be a little prejudiced toward it either. Fortunately it is a different case (besides this is a short-running issue). However, the best moments on it are closely related to organ-induced passages and treated sonic tissues (warped voice snippets?) and abrasively chiming metallic overthrows evoking more moods and sensibility.
Not all European free improvised music is European. Some is Canadian. Take the Saskatchewan-based efforts of Isak Goldschneider, Amy Horvey, and Jeff Morton, as captured on their recent free release, Mille Bayous. That's "free" both ways: downloadable and improvised. The list of instruments involved hints at the potential cacophony, but not at the near stasis that the trio revels in for much of the recording: Horvey, "trumpet, water, bowl, contact microphone, piano, percussion"; Goldschneider, "clarinet, electric organ, motor-magnet guitar, piano, percussion"; Morton, "microphones, percussion, brass objects, motor-magnet guitar, electric organ, piano." Cacophony does rear is carnival-esque head, on the closing "Les Méfaits de l’arbre," at the end of which Horvey is heard to say, "Oh, whatever." But the placement and the candid comment suggest it as an outtake, a blooper-real snippet, the noise against which the rest of the album's intense quietude can be judged.
Instead, gauge the musicians' fierce simpatico from the earthen textures of "Scary Forest," in which breathy, salivating woodwind lends a backdrop to light metallic gestural figurations, or the opening track, "Introduction: Creole Rhizome," with its mix of brittle drone and kazoo-like effervescence, or "Bop Hunters," in which nanoscale sawing plays against a rattly mechanism. It's tempting to read the album's title as a rural response to the Mille Plateaux aesthetic, a (mostly) analog microsonic counterpoint to the once ubiquitous digital ephemeralism.